Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali along with his delegation presented Nepal’s national report to the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review at 37th Session of the Human Rights Council UPR Working Group today.
Delegates from as many as 98 countries participated in the virtual program hosted by Turkey.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister Gyawlai said that Nepal was “emerging from the effects of armed conflict and the 2015 earthquake, but had taken many steps to advance human rights such as implementing wide-scale legal reforms, and holding free and fair elections in 2017”.
Gyawali added that poverty reduction, literacy and jobs programmes were implemented in Nepal and the government was committed to ending child labour, protecting street children, safeguarding the environment, and ensuring universal health coverage.
He added that Nepal Government was steadfast that there would be no blanket amnesty in cases of serious violation of human rights.
Following Gyawali’s report, participating countries presented their the queries related to issues of citizenship, refugee, National Human Rights Commission, rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, SDGs, among others, in Nepal.
Though Gyawali tried to paint a rosy picture of human rights and women’s rights situation in Nepal, representatives of a few countries took the opportunity to point out the lies.
Representative from the UK said, “There has been no justice for conflict victims and no accountability for human rights violations although 14 years have passed since the end of the armed conflict in Nepal,” adding, “There has been no investigation into more than 60,000 complaints lodged with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission on Disappearances.”
Similarly, countries like the United States, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway raised the issue of freedom of press and expression in Nepal, pointing at the provisions of the Media Council Bill, Information Technology Bill and the Electronic Transaction Act brought by the KP Sharma Oli- led government.
Meanwhile, Canada insisted that Nepal government had failed to implement the recommendations made by the Human Rights Commission and stressed on the autonomy of the judiciary.
The United States raised the issue of negligence faced by Tibetan refugees in Nepal, stating that the refugees were deprived of their registration and legal documents by the government. US also pointed out Nepal’s failure in implementing the agreement reached with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tibetan refugees.
According to the agreement, Nepal should facilitate the process of sending Tibetan refugees to Dharamsala, India with the required legal documents. However, China has been objecting to and hindering the process.
Participating countries recommend that Nepal bring perpetrators of slavery and trafficking to book, combat the worst forms of child labour, ensure freedom of expression especially for journalists, and make progress to ratify core human rights instruments.
Other recommendations to Nepal included strengthening implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), implementing the provisions of the Convention against Torture, eradicating caste-based and gender-based discrimination and violence, consolidating judicial independence, strengthening gender equality laws, setting up agencies to tackle rape, sexual abuse and all forms of violence against women and children, reducing poverty and hunger, banning harmful practices toward women and girls, improving migrant worker policy, and consolidating democracy.